Real Order

 

In This Issue
Did You Know?
Ways We Can Help
Gift Certificates
Perfect Planning
Keeping Track
Vacationing with Kids
Home Safe Home
Quote of the Month
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Certified Professional Organizer«
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist«
(678) 513-6585
Did You Know?
 
The top reasons Professional Organizers are hired:
  • too much clutter
  • general disorganization
  • difficulty determining what to keep and/or discard
  • difficulty finding things
  • selling a home or moving
 
Source: NAPO 2009 Member Survey
06/30/2009
 
Ways We Can Help
 
You can save money. You'll know what you already own, eliminating the need to buy duplicate items. A professional organizer can help you find the perfect organizing products for your space and lifestyle, so you stop wasting money on things you don't need or won't work.

You can become more productive and efficient. A professional organizer can create order and structure out of chaos. You'll receive systems that work for your dominant learning style, your lifestyle, your needs, your challenges, and your dreams.
 
You'll have a positive self-image and ditch the shame. Once your home or office is neat and tidy, you won't feel embarrassed to have guests visit. The guilt will fade away as you take pride in your surroundings.
 
You'll have a healthier environment. Physical and emotional clutter obscures your surroundings. An organized home and office is more easily cleaned. Lose the clutter and cut down on time spent moving piles of paper and stuff around.
 
Your stress level will decrease dramatically. When you can find what you need, are on top of your to-dos, and arrive on time, you'll feel calmer and have more peace of mind. No more feeling overwhelmed by life -- you'll be the one in control.

You'll discover more time for yourself. When you're organized, your days go as planned, and you get a lot more done. That leaves more time to indulge in a little "me time."

Your energy will shine.
Clutter is a mask and a professional organizer can help you take off that mask. Once the clutter is removed, you can showcase your talents, skills, and personality and have the life you deserve.
 
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June 2010

Real Order e-Newsletter
      Planning a Vacation?      
       Don't Stress - Organize!        
Dear ,
 
NSMM Week LogoA few months ago, my husband and I were very fortunate to spend a week vacationing in the west after a conference in Las Vegas.
 
We saw many sights in Nevada and Arizona that were indeed beautiful. Experiencing the Grand Canyon was on my "bucket list" and it was especially awe-inspiring flying over the Canyon in a helicopter.  I highly recommend it if you're the adventurous type!  If you're anything like me, a good vacation and a little adventure can renew the spirit and soul like nothing else.  This month's newsletter includes tips on organizing your vacation so it can be one you'll fondly remember and relive in memory for years to come. A side benefit is that right before going on vacation, many people feel good about themselves because they've cleared up their to-do piles, closed up transactions, and renewed old promises with themselves.  It's a great way to leave, knowing that loose ends have been taken care of and you're relaxed and ready to enjoy the fun times that await you! 
 
Terri Signature    
Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS
Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC
(678) 513-6585
Perfect Planning
 
Perfect vacations rarely happen without some thoughtful planning. While not always as exciting as a spur-of-the-moment getaway, a well-thought-out trip may be less likely to deliver stress and frustration.
 
To start the vacation planning process, compile all your trip details.  You can store phone numbers, email addresses, confirmation numbers and other trip details in your mobile phone or other device, but you'll want a 3-ring binder or a spiral notebook plus a 2-pocket folder to hold brochures, maps and back-up documents. Whether you're in the early planning stages or just days away from your trip, gather these items so they're at your fingertips when you need them.
 
  • Your travel agent's phone number and email address
  • Airline or train reservation information, plus phone numbers and website addresses (to check in online or verify on-time status)
  • Car rental agency phone numbers, coupons, and confirmation numbers
  • Hotel brochures, phone and confirmation numbers
  • Maps of the area you're traveling to, as well as maps and directions to help you get there (even if you plan to use a GPS, a map and/or printed directions are a good back-up)
  • Brochures of interesting places to visit on the way or upon arrival at your destination (museums, state parks, theme parks, historic sites, etc.)
  • Complete itinerary of your trip
     
Also, to keep your home tidy in the days or weeks leading up to the trip, dedicate one central location (such as a laundry basket tucked away in a closet or a suitcase stashed in the laundry room) for take-along items. As you encounter things that must be packed (such as travel books and beach towels), toss them in and forget about them until packing day.
 
ęTime to Organize, LLC.  Limited distribution rights granted.
Keeping Track
 
Preparing and packing for a beach vacation or camping trip usually means lots of things to remember.  Did I pack the sunscreen?  Who's bringing the citronella candles?  Free checklists from Practical Spreadsheets ensure you have everything you need.  They're even designed for several families vacationing together so that you can keep track of who's bringing what.
 
Download the Vacation Checklist here.
 
Download the Camping Checklist here.
 
Visit the Practical Spreadsheets website for other checklists including a grocery list, weekly meal planner, diet and fitness checklists and more. 
Vacationing with Children: A Parent's Guide to Creating Memories You'll Cherish
 
Traveling with children will be a memorable event - the question is "What kind?" Your chances of a lifetime memory you will cherish increase significantly with some advance communication and preparation.

The book, Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever, outlines a five-step process you can apply to organizing any area of your life - including traveling with children of any age. Make the children a part of the trip by letting them help you plan. Your children will enjoy the trip more if they feel they have some say about the agenda. Get books from the library, or do an Internet search, on the area you plan to visit. Give them some options of what to do and actually use some of their suggestions. Who knows? You may enjoy their suggestions more than you think.

Here is a guide to vacationing with children, using the 5 steps:

1. DESIGN YOUR VISION
The first step to happy memories is good communication. Start scheduling family meetings to plan - the earlier the better. At the first meeting, ask each member of the family to describe what he or she would like to have in order to have a wildly successful vacation. It's a great idea to put some structure into this discussion. Use a flip chart and have family members take turns recording answers. Subsequent meetings can be used to work out each of the next steps.

2. ELIMINTATE YOUR OBSTACLES
Mark Twain is credited with saying "Progress starts with the truth." Certainly that applies in this situation. For example, some teens simply do not think it's "cool" to travel with mom and dad. If you want your teens to enjoy their travel experience, make sure you understand what they like and dislike. With young children, keep in mind "less is more." A swim in the hotel pool may be a much better choice than another two hours at the theme park.

3. COMMIT YOUR TIME
There could be several issues here. If your teens are working, they may resent having to miss work - or they may be delighted. In either case, find out their preferences, and see what you can do to accommodate them without jeopardizing your own needs. One of the issues likely to come up is the daily travel schedule itself. Young children need naps, teens may want to sleep late, while parents relish the idea of "getting an early start." Compromise is probably the best solution here.

4. SELECT YOUR TOOLS
While you may think it's ridiculous to think about "tools" for a vacation, it is really essential. For example, if it is impossible to reach a compromise about the music on the car CD player, headphones for individual players could be a godsend!  Tools can also include systems for the way you handle situations. One of the major keys to success in organizing any activity is focusing on individual strengths - if one child is particularly adept at photography, make them the official family photographer, while another might be a great navigator.

5. MAINTAIN YOUR SUCCESS
At the end of each day, take a few minutes for a "Check-In" session. What was the best thing that happened that day? Why? How can we make sure we have more like it? What didn't work? Why? How can we eliminate the situation in the future? Make sure you use this process at the end of the vacation - make some notes and put them in your Vacation File for next year's planning.

Here are some general tips you can use to ensure a great vacation:

Choose age appropriate destinations. This doesn't mean every trip has to involve a theme park or sports event; it simply means keep the trip's educational value at a level they can comprehend and appreciate. If your children's ages span a wide range, have at least one activity geared to each child. Picking a hotel with a pool can make a big difference!

Lay the ground rules early. Before you even leave the house, make sure your children know what is and isn't acceptable behavior on the road. As elementary as this may seem, if you don't tell your children what you expect, how can they oblige?

Let the children pack their own suitcases as much as possible. Make sure each child has a small carry-on bag for which they are responsible. Include things they can do on the road or in the air--MP3 player, comic books, handheld video games, etc.

Decide ahead of time about seating arrangements and make contingency plans in case requested seats are not available.

Establish a meeting place at each stop. Nothing could be worse that having a child get lost in an unfamiliar environment. Whenever you visit a location, identify a spot where the family can meet if you happen to get separated, or carry cell phones.

Carry current photos of your children. That way others can help you locate your lost child. If your child can tell time, make sure they take a watch!

Pack a first aid kit. Face it. Kids will be kids. That means scraped knees, bug bites, and cuts and bruises. When traveling with children, always keep a first aid kit handy.
 
Check for children travel specials. Pre-planning can save you lots of money. Many airlines, restaurants, and hotels offer discounts for children, whether it's a "kids stay or eat free" deal or a "half-off children's rate." Let Internet-savvy children put their mouse to work for a happier vacation.

The most important thing to remember - flexibility. Traveling with children of any age is always a challenge. Spend more time enjoying the precious memories you will be creating and less time fretting over what could go wrong. Keep your sense of humor in full swing and happy traveling.

Barbara Hemphill
Home Safe Home
 
Take these simple precautions to keep your home safe while you're away.
 
  • Don't put out the "we're not home" sign - install timers on lights and a radio or television so your home looks and sounds lived in.
  • Let trusted neighbors know how long you'll be gone and how to reach you in an emergency. Ask them to keep a watchful eye on your place. Have them collect your mail and newspapers, or suspend delivery until you return. Perhaps they could park their cars in your driveway occasionally. 
  • Remove home address and phone numbers from your luggage tags and add your cell phone number instead, in case an unscrupulous baggage handler gets any shady ideas. 
  • Lock up and hide your valuables. Keep some shades partially closed to keep expensive items (such as your big-screen TV) out of view. (But don't completely close all window coverings, or it will be obvious that no one is home.
  • Set the thermostat to an energy-saving level. Unplug most appliances to save electricity.
  • Remove all perishable items from your refrigerator, and take out the trash so you don't return to unpleasant odors.
  • It may seem obvious, but don't forget to lock all doors and windows. If you leave a vehicle in the driveway, be sure to remove any garage door openers.
 
ęTime to Organize, LLC.  Limited distribution rights granted.
 
Quote of the Month 
 
No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.
- Jewish Proverb
 

$25 
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REFER A FRIEND AND DINE OUT ON US 
Most of us recommend restaurants, movies or mechanics to our family and friends. When you recommend Real Order for professional organizing, we want to thank you with a $25 gift card to Red Lobster or Olive Garden - it's your choice. A minimum of four hours of organizing services must be purchased to qualify. To redeem your gift card, simply notify us of the family or friend you are referring to us. Bon appetit! 

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